"Best" of the Decade: Albums
As a deeply nervous person, I’ve always felt that making lists is an important and soothing activity. You can arrange almost anything into a list, which makes it possible to bring a semblance of order to any kind of chaos. Even as a container though, lists are flexible enough to keep that order fluid and interesting. For example, here is a list of some of the best lists: Craig’s, New York Times Bestseller, Santa’s ‘Nice’, and the no-fly.
With that flexibility though comes a number of challenges for the arbitrary process of making lists, especially of something as colossal as a decade music. Does the list maker try to be objective, or instead present some autobiographical portrait of their iTunes Most Played analytics (would that they could revive the data from their long dormant iPod classic…). My problem with this list is that when the decade began I was a sophomore in college, living in a solo dorm room with zero inches of wall space unclaimed by posters and no roommate to tell me to turn down whatever I was listening to. At the end of this decade I find some of those same posters, now framed, nailed to the walls of my offices where I work, and the apartment my wife and I live in. This is to say there is a lot of story from then to now, ten years is quite a long time to soundtrack.
A good list should tell a good story. A few years ago, a year end list by poet and essayist Hanif Abdurraqib freed me from the arbitrary challenge of year end musical list making. He wrote:
I have decided on a somewhat random number of albums. I do appreciate how the list format can be equal parts exciting and somewhat exhausting during this time of year. But for me, it’s a good place to mention a lot of albums that I loved but didn’t always get to … talk about a lot..
Borrowing Abdurraqib’s move for 2017 made making this list possible. So in that spirit, here are 68 albums that I’ll take with me from this decade into the next, some of which tell the story of a very specific moment, others which continue to tell their stories, different stories now, and foreshadow stories they’ll tell in the years to come.
68. DJ Khaled - Grateful (2017)
A hodgepodge of the ‘it’ rappers during a hot summer of hot music.
67. Run The Jewels - Run The Jewels 2 (2014)
66. Jai Paul - Leak 04-13 (Bait Ones) (2019)
65. James Blake - Overgrown (2013)
“Retrograde” while the sun sets over the San Francisco Bay, Blake on stage cut between the music festival’s fog machines and the Pacific Ocean creeping inland.
64. Mount Eerie - (after) (2018)
63. Tobias Jesso Jr. - Goon (2015)
Not sure where this dude went, but man, he can play a pop song on the piano.
62. Okkervil River - I Am Very Far (2011)
61. J.E. Sunde - Shapes That Kiss the Lips of God (2014)
Sublime folksy spiritual; great for a campfire, or a quiet walk, or really any occasion where you can feel the sun touch your skin.
60. Animal Collective - Painting With (2016)
59. Radiohead - The King of Limbs (2011)
58. Carly Rae Jepsen - E-MO-TION (2015)
Late adopter to CRJ’s post “Call Me Maybe” fame; better late than never!
57. JAY Z - 4:44 (2017)
The apology world tour, set to a tight No ID produced record. “Bam” steals the all time best JAY Z opening lyrics award.
56. Lizzo - Cuz I Love You (2019)
55. Lana Del Rey - Born to Die (2012)
54. Adele - 25 (2015)
53. The National - High Violet (2010)
Finally, a song about where I’m from! “Bloodbuzz, Ohio” captures the melancholy of the midwest with all the aching honest of the naked “Sorrow” but an added regional flare.
52. Benjamin Gibbard - Former Lives (2012)
51. Ariana Grande - Sweetener (2018)
50. Frank Ocean - Channel Orange (2012)
49. The Decembersits - The King is Dead (2011)
48. Panda Bear - Buoys (2019)
47. Animal Collective - Centipede Hz (2012)
46. The Kills - Blood Pressures (2011)
45. Titus Andronicus - The Monitor (2010)
A concept album about the Civil War gets Midwest boys into the moshpit better than anything!
44. Purity Ring - Shrines (2012)
43. ASAP Rocky - Long.Live.A$AP (2013)
42. The Horrible Crowes - Elsie (2011)
41. Chance the Rapper - Coloring Book (2013)
40. Vampire Weekend - Father of the Bride (2019)
39. Cold War Kids - Dear Miss Lonelyhearts (2013)
38. Sleigh Bells -Treats (2010)
37. Mutual Benefit - Love’s Crushing Diamond (2013)
36. Kanye West - The Life of Pablo (2016)
35. Okkervil River - The Silver Gymnasium (2013)
34. JAY Z & Kanye West - Watch the Throne (2011)
The album might be some pretty corny rap music, but I’ll always remember the Best Buy in Boardman, Ohio, being the first place to card me after turning 21 to buy this CD.
33. Kendrick Lamar - good kid, m.A.A.d. city (2012)
32. The Decemberists - We All Raise Our Voices to the Air (2012)
31. Danny Brown - XXX (2011)
30. Avey Tare - Cows on an Hourglass Pond (2019)
29. Beyoncé - 4 (2011)
28. Bon Iver - 22, A Million (2016)
27. Tokyo Police Club - Champ (2010)
This is the official album for dorm room moshing and crushing Neil Brown at Virtua Tennis on his own Sega Dreamcast.
26. Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the City (2013)
25. Cold War Kids - Mine Is Yours (2011)
24. Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks - Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks (2013)
23. Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010)
22. Brian Fallon - Painkillers (2016)
21. The xx - I See You (2017)
20. The Gaslight Anthem - Handwritten (2012)
19. Jack White - Boarding House Reach (2018)
18. The Raconteurs - Help Us, Stranger (2019)
The comeback album and tour we didn’t know we needed so badly. This is how you silence a hiatus!
17. The Dead Weather - Sea of Cowards (2010)
Scuzzy scum rock with Jack White behind a drum kit? More, please. Battle it out on the “Blue Blood Blues” riff or Alison Mosshart’s explosive shriek on “Gasoline”.
16. Carly Rae Jepsen - Dedicated (2019)
15. Sky Ferreira - Night Time, My Time (2013)
All due respect Sky, we’re so ready for the follow up to kick off the next decade!
14. Christopher Owens - A New Testament (2014)
13. Beyoncé - Beyoncé (2013) & HOMECOMING (2019)
We all know about the surprise drop (I was on my computer in my childhood bedroom when I heard - where were you?), the industry-breaking and re-shaping secret rollout of Beyoncé’s image-shifting exploration of genre-bending 14 new video-accompanied tracks. On the back of his wife’s hard work, JAY Z would set out on multiple grueling world tours playing clean up to Beyoncé’s intricate super stadium arrangements, songs like “On to the Next One” barely registering between the sultry “Yoncé” or reworkings of classics like “Single Ladies” and “Crazy in Love”. It would take a few years to get hip, but the Beyoncé live show-as-spectacle would hit critical mass in Her headlining event at 2018’s Coachella, documented and captured in the spectacular greatest hits set slash celebration of HBCU marching band excellence HOMECOMING, trading LEMONADE’s later heartbreak for a jubilant testament to Beyoncé’s live power.
Even beyond the bombast of the tours, these songs are stadium sized in your little earbuds: “Drunk in Love” and “Pretty Hurts” move mountains, “XO” shakes listeners for all the sentimental pathos they can muster. The memes: surfbordt, goodgood, sneezed on the beat, woke up like this instantly entered the vernacular and unlike the rest of us cracking jokes, you had the assured sense that in fact, yes, Beyoncé did wake up like this, and we thank Her for sharing that with us.
12. Girls - Father, Son, Holy Ghost (2011)
11. Kanye West - Yeezus (2013)
What can be said about Yeezus that doesn’t screech out of the abrasive opening seconds of “On Sight”. Responding to impossibly high expectations with, “fuck whatever y’all been hearing”, West made the thesis statement for his last great album.
10. Coheed & Cambria - Year of the Black Rainbow (2010)
Ask any fan of this band what their favorite record is and they will tell you it's any of them except Year of the Black Rainbow. They might say 2018’s The Unheavenly Creatures is the best (I would, were it not for this record). When a weird middle-career album is your first album as a fan of the band, you see it through rose colored lenses. I dare you to listen to “World of Lines” or untouchable b-side “Hush” and tell me this record doesn’t rock.
9. Vampire Weekend - Contra (2010)
In 2010 I still wasn’t sure bands you loved came to your town, or even near it, so when I had the chance to see Vampire Weekend on a cold March evening, I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to have my entire self-concept as a cardigan wearing hipster affirmed by their weird, glitchy second album and chandelier-adorned tour stop down the street from where I was an undergraduate English major. “Cousins” with all its confetti and glam answered the burning question of how, and if it was possible, for Vampire Weekend to step out from underneath their massive debut. “Diplomat’s Son” tells its own sprawling story and “White Sky” dares you not to jump up and down in place. Fun fact: Contra was the first record I ever bought on vinyl.
8. Beyoncé - LEMONADE (2016)
LEMONADE revealed itself to us in the middle of an April night. Was it a tour documentary? A making of featurette for some new work? Like an impossible lightning strike finding ground for an impossible second time, the surprise album drop took Beyoncé’s visual maximalism to the next level; you want an album with visuals for each song? Not from Beyoncé. From Beyoncé you get a near-feature length film, punctuated by recitations of the British poet Warsan Shire, a stunning narrative of visual storytelling that deepens the already poingiant lyrics. The only response to the tabloid’s preying gaze into Beyoncé’s private life: a five act play presenting to the world her and JAY Z’s road to redemption. LEMONADE is bitter and angry and sorrowful and sweet and meloncholly and fucking awesome.
My wife correctly has this album slotted as the album of the year in 2016, and every year since. Jack White pops up for “DON’T HURT YOURSELF” but you should stay for the whole record front to back, especially the gentle bookend tracks “PRAY YOU CATCH ME” and “ALL NIGHT”.
7. Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues (2011)
In my junior year of college, I had a thrift store flannel for every day of the week and knew every word to the second Fleet Foxes album. Spacey but folksy, literary but poppy, handsome but sloppy. Between lead singer Robin Peckinold’s enormous voice, the band’s lush arrangements, and the lyrics’ literary prose was a thoughtful tome that would carry spring all the way into fall and winter. Unlike their debut, Blues was an instant hit: the bombast of the title track, the soft meditations of “Blue Spotted Tail” perfect accompaniment to the kind of metaphysical wonderings of an all too serious young man. For a long time, this record was the last word from the Fleet Foxes, and while 2017’s Crack Up is a fine addition to the band’s cannon, their middle child says everything they needed to say, and I was, and continue, to be listening rather closely.
6. Brian Fallon - Sleepwalkers (2018)
Brian Fallon is the lead singer of storied New Jersey punk band The Gaslight Anthem, who, after releasing the least exciting album of their career (stay tuned for their most exciting album…) announced a hiatus in 2015. For these hard working maniacs to wrap up a tour and call it quits was an absolute gut punch: their shows were summer staples, their albums inescapable classics. Previously freed from the cosmic pressure of the great expectations his band’s earlier albums cast over his work, Sleepwalkers is Fallon’s second solo release in his life after Anthem, clear of the growing pains of his debut, confident with session players ranging from piano, saxophone, trumpet. Fallon’s songwriting recalls all his previous work, but still sounds more grown, more nuanced. In “My Name is the Night (Color Me Black)” Fallon crunches through a guitar riff worthy of the earliest Gaslight Anthem songs, while finding a contemplative slow burner in “See You On the Other Side” echoes the Gaslight Anthem slow jams of yore and makes me cry every time I hear it:
“When we both grow old / and there’s nothing left to say/ I want you to know / that I loved you all my days / and when we close our eyes on this lifetime I / yes I’ll see you on the other side”. God DAMN. In a small year, Sleepwalkers’s tight tracklist gives us something for any listener and any mood.
5. Deakin - Sleep Cycle (2016)
You cannot talk about Deakin & Sleep Cycle without at least mentioning Animal Collective. Most recently part of the touring and recording of 2012’s Centipede Hz, Deakin’s extracurricular activities have become a bit of a running gag within the Animal Collective fan communities. In 2009, Deakin began raising funds via Kickstarter for field recordings, musical performances, and philanthropic work in Mali, Africa. Years of silence led to the often recited: “Leak it, Deak!” on fan message boards.
Finally though Deakin quietly released the album on his personal Bandcamp page. Sleep Cycle, a quiet, six song, thirty minute reflection, loudly responds to literal years of badgering. Is the wait earned? Short answer: yes.
On album opener, “Golden Chords,” Deakin challenges the obvious coming critique of the album with: “Stop asking / is that something I’m not anymore?” Whatever process necessary for this music to exist, it is worth the wait. The Deakin of 2009 is outwritten by the Deakin of 2016: “shake these broken / chords till they turn gold.” And what comes to follow on the rest of the album, truly, is gold. At the end of “Good House” Deakin barely whispers: “You’re safe now, don’t fight / Breathe in with all / spit out all that rage / you’re safe now, don’t fight.” At the end of six songs, four of which are more than six minutes long, we’ve heard our way through an audio hug. Thanks, Josh Dibb, we didn’t even know we’d need that hug but we got it all the same.
Sleep Cycle hints at a spirituality that we’re all, in some way, searching for: comfort, god, whatever. After this complete sequence of songs, perhaps the most perfect example of how an album can work in harmony, we find that good house of our own.
4. Bon Iver - Bon Iver (2011)
There’s a small town in Northeastern Ohio called Lisbon. People from Youngstown often used Lisbon as a waypoint for logging driving hours on their learner’s permit because Lisbon got you both highway and local road experience, plus, Lisbon was home to the (now sadly closed) Steel Trolley Diner which to my estimation had the worlds’ best apple dumplings. Let’s sort out some quick facts: (1) I did not get my learner’s permit while I was still living in Youngstown, so these memories are really of being in the car with my brother during his learner’s permit (2) more of these trips to the Steel Trolley Diner were during the long and difficult elections my mother, then a public servant, had to endure every six years and (3) I actually didn’t enjoy these rides to Lisbon, Ohio, because they were long and the roads meandered over hills and made me nauseous.
But, the thing about Bon Iver is that the album demands you view your history through rose-colored lenses. So when the short instrumental track “Lisbon, Ohio” cross-references my vision of the midwest from the lens of Justin Vernon’s (a Wisconsin boy) vision of the midwest, sitting in my apartment in California I was suddenly home again. The epic crescendos of “Holocene” suddenly become the sound of an airplane crossing the Rockies heading East for winter holidays, the patient and humble lyrics practically whispering that, while floating over this majestic land, “once I knew / I was not magnificent”. Weird lyrical turns of phrase, a perfect blend of classical music elements with an electric saxophone solo (“Beth/Rest” - its either your favorite song on the album or you’re wrong) and pastoral imagery in the art, the tones, the whole mood of the record.
It is impossible to overstate how warm, how re-listenable, how spectacular Bon Iver’s once-final statement says so much. 22, A Million and this year’s i,i are both important chapters in the Bon Iver story, and I’m certainly grateful for an occasion to see them touring, but it's the ten songs from their self titled record that hit the highest of highs, comfortably set us down on emotional lows, only to level us back out again, “still alive”, album opener “Perth” repeats. Still alive, and moreso, in the afterglow of Bon Iver.
3. The Gaslight Anthem - American Slang (2010)
“And don’t sing me your songs about the good times / those days are gone” Brian Fallon sings fronting the third album from his band The Gaslight Anthem in “Old Haunts” a song on an album that came out exactly during my good times: summer between sophomore and junior years of college, living on campus working for the summer with long days, seemingly endless cash for the cases of beer snuck into dorm rooms and road trips to see rock & roll shows. American Slang is the last piece of meaningful music news I received via a band’s MySpace page, and, at the risk of looking to history through too much nostalgia, was the soundtrack to the end of one distinct era of my life and the beginning of another. Later in “Old Haunts” Fallon warns the constant nostalgist: “God help the man who says if you’d of known me then / old haunts are for forgotten ghosts”.
In the title track such anthemic lyrics as “they cut me to ribbons and taught me to drive” seemed like fitting aphorisms to shout out the windows of my friends’ cars, “you taught us fortunes in American Slang” became the thesis statement for the fortune we tried to find in bar bands, rock clubs, and occasionally detestable arena shows of live music. It's no surprise the best show of the summer of 2010 was a road trip to Detroit to see The Gaslight Anthem (we drove back to Columbus the same night, howling into the dawn): the band hot off their still widely regarded critical masterpiece The ‘59 Sound came up with something important to say, and boy, did they come and say it.
What continues to be striking about The Gaslight Anthem’s whole body of work is how self-aware it is. These are rock songs about the pathos of listeners who elect to make the rock songs their emotional center. Characters in these songs tattoo each others’ names on their arms, they ask us “were your records all you had to pass the time” and while we’re being warned not to look too warmly at a past surely as difficult as your present, we’re also told to take comfort in these nostalgic things. Like Fallon sings in “The Diamond Church Street Choir”: “If I’m gone for too long / I can always hum along / so don’t you never forget what I told you … everybody’s singing” and we did. We always did sing along. We sang along when we said goodbye to The Gaslight Anthem in 2015 and we sang along when they came back for a brief reunion tour in 2018 and we’ll continue singing songs about the good times, those old forgotten ghosts be damned.
2. Panda Bear - Tomboy (2011) & Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper (2015)
In the summer between the release dates of these two extremely different albums, Panda Bear performed a set at the All Tomorrow’s Parties music festival. Like Deakin, as a member of Animal Collective, Panda Bear’s solo work is prone to fastidious and obsessive online collecting, trading, dissecting, and discussing. The ATP bootleg from June 2013 instantly lit up the fan forums, and barely one year after Animal Collective’s excellent Centipede Hz album and tour, were back all aboard the new-album hype train.
In California, I had exactly two responsibilities: make coffee and write poetry, which is to say I had time to be following the theories for new Panda Bear music: interpreting interview responses, listening to demos, alternate takes, and ATP rehearsals being graciously shared on the fan forum by the unexpected participation of the album’s producer (and member of Spacemen 3) Sonic Boom, piecing together ideal tracklists, lyrics, chasing clues on tour dates to come, an album release date, and even trying to pin down the name of the album that would, in January 2015, become Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper.
Frantic and fun as the real time roll out for Grim Reaper was, soon, my eagerness outweighed available content. Old heads on the forum, among other praises, talked with tremendous eagerness about how different Grim Reaper tracks sounded from Panda Bear’s previous solo release, 2011’s Tomboy. Prior to 2013, I had been more a fan of the sum of Animal Collective’s parts than individual members’ output. I was too young in 2007 to “get” the paradigm shifting Person Pitch, or not patient enough in 2010 for Avey Tare (another Animal)’s dreary Down There. Still, as anybody coming into popular culture as an internet pioneer as so many folks my age, I had torrents and Napster files of all this music from the first note of “Peacebone” I heard and onward. They just sat in waiting.
Still, I was at least aware of Tomboy I happened to see a live set on the Tomboy tour in 2011, Panda Bear and Sonic Boom playing a mixer, a laptop, and two guitars, managed to stretch the contemplative songs wide enough to fill the entire field house at Temple University for the one off Popped Music Festival. At the time, I knew what I was a part of in that audience was special. But until the coldest parts of the San Francisco summer of 2013 did I understand how really special Panda Bear’s music was.
And so, to quell the wait for more fully developed versions of the frantic “Mr. Noah”, its meandering almost hip-hop rhythm along to actual samples of dogs barking with the somber “You Can Count on Me”. One on end, the disjointed digital future of deconstructed real and invented sounds scattershot reassembled into what we could barely call music, on the other, “Drone” making good on its title to pulse out what feels like a single crushing note for four minutes. Tomboy’s title track, suggestive of future sounds from Panda Bear is matched by “Crosswords” which hangs up guitar for keyboard tones. At the center of all: Panda Bear’s sublime voice. It is the secret weapon of Animal Collective, and it is the allure to all of Panda Bear’s solo offerings: something that can peek out from underneath endless layers of samples, a digital dirge of noise, convey a nonsense turn of phrase into prayer.
Grim Reaper, familiar like an old friend by the time it was official released, still manages to surprise upon repeated listens. The song’s live interpolations further create space for the songs to be ideas and concepts, as opposed to static ‘finished’ products which rewards frequent concert goers, plus, you might get to meet the guy. The album is dark, Panda Bear’s sunny voice lulling you into a false sense of comfort until the record slowly strips back the layers of noise to unfold centerpiece track “Tropic of Cancer”. While the tumult of my leaving California to move home is my story and not the story of this record, you can still imagine how the lyrics “and you can’t get back / you won’t come back to it / you can’t come back to it / and you can’t get back / you won’t come back” land as mountains turn to plains turn to snow as I fly east for the last time.
On Tomboy, the life-saving affirmations of “Surfer’s Hymn”: “when there are hard times I’ll step it up / when there are dangerous times I’ll spot them up / I’ll take my time to make up my own mind / to step it up when the times are calling for a steady creed” might speak to the song’s title in a literal sense, but, to take all this on top of a twinkling cycle of bells, percussion that pulses like a heart steadying itself during unsteady times, the sublime reveals itself in each measure, each track, and in both of the Panda Bear albums released this decade.
1. Jack White - Blunderbuss (2012) & Lazaretto (2014)
If you know two things about me, the first is that Twister is my favorite film, and if this were a list about movies and not music, and the decade two prior to the one which we are concluding, I would be talking to you about that. However, it is this decade and we are talking about music, which leads us to the second thing you know about me:
I love Jack White.
In 2011, The White Stripes, cold since the conclusion of their tour in support of 2007’s Icky Thump announced they were officially breaking up. Exactly all of The White Stripes’ story happened before I had a chance to be part of it. Like I mentioned, I didn’t think bands you liked came to your town, and the first word I heard from The White Stripes after learning this was in fact not true was that they would never be touring again.
Then, almost exactly one year later, “Love Interruption” was released. Haunting, quiet, Blunderbuss’ first single is a perfect antithesis to White’s virtuosic guitar shredding. Still, it was a blues song, it echoed most of White’s well-known influences and it reiterated them in an exciting, if not anxious, manner. Nerves aside, the single came with even more promising news: a whole album of music would be coming at the end of April 2012. This was late January. Barely any time to prepare!
On March 3rd White debuted the second single on Saturday Night Live and “Sixteen Saltines” delivered in grand heapings of raucous guitar rock. From the opening lick, a shriek and snarl, a new season was born. This is what White’s vision could sound like filled in by a whole band. “Love Interruption” suggested that while the solo Jack White could contain multitudes, “Sixteen Saltines” assured White Stripes die-hards we wouldn’t be too far from home. “Freedom at 21”, the third and final single before the April 20th release date played to both impulses: here the screaming solos would remain but with all new textures.
White started touring in the month ahead of its release with a quirky-as-ever arrangement: two touring bands, one all female (the Peacocks) and one all-male (the Buzzards) who would join him on stage each night seemingly at a whim, without a setlist, playing songs across his discography: Raconteurs songs, Dead Weather songs, even White Stripes songs. These, along with a hesitant drip of songs from Blunderbuss lifted anticipation to a fever pitch. The Peacocks were mostly an acoustic band sporting Lillie Mae on fiddle, The Buzzards boasted the hip-hop drummer and producer Daru Jones. What the hell would Blunderbuss sound like? That might be up to you to decide, but, at the end of two years of touring, just as White was catching his breath, and seemingly before anyone felt the need to ask it, a new question materialized:
What comes next? The answer popped up on YouTube on April Fools Day, 2014. “High Ball Stepper” interrupted my day at work, and Lazaretto, Jack White’s second solo album, interrupted my whole decade. Released on June 10th on a vinyl LP that had more gizmos and do-dads than any pocket knife could even dream of Lazaretto stormed into the world with more balls than its older brother Blunderbuss, more blues than its older brother Blunderbuss, and an iconic tour that cracked the earth open the night I saw him play a fourteen minute rendition of “Ball & Biscuit” in San Francisco.
Blending the best talent from both Blunderbuss touring bands into the studio, Lazaretto feels more naturally balanced. Instead of “Sixteen Saltines”’ sore-thumb-ness of a rocker, “High Ball Stepper” and “Lazaretto” are more intense versions of “The Black Bat Licorice” or “Would You Fight For My Love”, but while the guitar-songs of Blunderbuss are relegated to White Stripes-run times, Lazaretto tracks extend well to and beyond four minutes, fully fleshed out versions of themselves with fiddle, organ, even a full choir in one case. “Just One Drink” is a country song that begins with a garage rock guitar riff, “Want & Able” is an old Americana standard with White’s signature warble, “I Think I Found the Culprit” is about birds. The record gives White room to get weird, but not at the expense of the songs like 2018’s Boarding House Reach.
The one sentence review of Lazaretto is this: “Alone in My Home” is the best song I’ve ever heard in my entire life and at the bottom of this list you at least know that was a hard call for me to make.
This is all to say, it would be unfair to make a list of albums I loved this decade where these two records were contenders, but it would be even more unfair to try and pick between them. Each, with the merit, have well-earned their worn groves and I imagine will continue to in the decade to come. Like I said at the top, lists are arbitrary, and we shouldn’t feel limited by our lists’ rules, especially lists we are the author of. Like White says in “On and On and On”:
“The storms in the sky never worry / they don’t have to hurry, they move in their own way”
It was a long decade, with a lot of good sounds. Let them float over you, in and out of your ears, across the screen in front of your eyes, let you feel it in your skin and bones. But mostly, while we
“Have to choose what to do / how to act, what to think, how to talk, what to say”
So choose the songs, the albums, the bands you love. Like I said, these aren’t the best, they’re just the ones I love the most. Find yours and put them on. And on, and on, and on.